Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bits and Morsels

The 82nd Annual Feast of San Gennaro.

Last night I went to the opening party for Charlie Palmer's Aureole to benefit Citymeals-on-Wheels.

Located in the Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park, the new Adam Tihany-designed Aureole is stunning. The original Aureole occupied a brownstone off Madison Avenue for twenty years before moving to this new location. The food at Aureole is modern American and is overseen by its hugely talented Executive Chef, Chris Lee. All of tonight's bites were delectable, my favorite being the gazpacho spheres that melted away in my mouth. Citymeals-on-Wheels provides meals to home-bound elderly New Yorkers, making it a very worthy cause to support.

Aureole & City Meals on Wheels
Aureole, outside and in.
Bill Fischer and Charlie Palmer. Josh Ozersky feeding foie gras to Executive Chef Chris Lee.
American Caviar with Potato Blinis and Chive Sour Cream. Farmed Raised Chicken with White Corn and Sauce Mole.
Pork and Shrimp Shumai. Mini Hamachi Tacos with Pineapple and Soy Sour Cream.
Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho with Jalapeno Oil. Shrimp Tempura.
Colorado Lamb Skewers with Sauce Vadouvan ... gone in a flash.
Scallop Sandwich with Sear Foie Gras and Passion Fruit. Milk Chocolate Panna Cotta with Dark Chocolate Brownie and Ginger Bee.
Passion Fruit Meringue Tartlets. Petit Fours.
Shell Shock. Is it just me or did New York go from utter tranquility to beyond bustling in a single weekend? Between Fashion Week, street fairs, and the traffic as a consequence, I was shell shocked. The weather being cold and rainy one day and beautiful the next didn’t help matters, giving me the sniffles. But all is good as the New York we know and love is back in full force.

Saturday night I went down to Bleecker Street to try out the pizza at Keste (across the Street from John’s), located at 271 Bleecker. Roberto Caporuscio is the man behind Keste and knows authentic pizza better than anyone. Roberto is the president of the U.S. branch of the Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napoletani. He is the man who certifies pizzerias as being authentically Neapolitanon or not, which includes everything from the base ingredients to how the dough is handled to how to cook the pizza. Keste means "this is it."
Roberto Caporuscio of Keste. Keste's oven.
On Saturday night Keste was jam-packed and the wait for a table was 20 minutes, although it moved quickly. The actual space is a hot hole in the wall but the pizza more than makes up for it. I have to rank it up there with some of the best pizza I have engulfed.

The crust is just the sweetest blend of soft and chewy and the quality of the mozzarella and ripeness of the tomatoes; near perfect. I always order pizza with arugula as if the addition of the arugula gives the pizza a healthier billing (I wish). All the pies I snapped looked divine. My only wish: to have tried them all. Yes, even the nutella pizza!

271 Bleecker Street
Pizza Margherita.
Piizza with arugola, tomato, and fresh mozzarella.
Pizza with prosciutto di parma, arugola, and extra virgin olive oil.
Pizza with rapini, sausage, and smoked mozzarella.
Nutella pizza.
Across the Street from Keste is Cones (275 Bleecker), known for its really intense ice cream (in many flavors). Pizza and ice cream on the same day is not a common practice for me, but if I’m going to splurge for your benefit, I want the best of both worlds. Many times ice cream is too cold or hard for my taste, but it’s soft and creamy at Cones, not unlike gelato. My two go to flavors are coffee chip and mint chip.
Mint chip and coffee chip from Cones.
The San Gennaro festival (The 82nd Annual Feast of San Gennaro) is in full swing (through Sept. 20th), so after dinner I went to Mulberry Street in Little Italy to take part. It's best to go to the San Gennaro Festival at night -- all of Little Italy is lit up like a Christmas tree. The annual feast is filled with carnival games, rides and a variety of Italian specialty foods and pastries. Spicy sausage and peppers is the most visible offering. The food isn’t necessarily the Feast's strongpoint, but come and take a closer look at a neighborhood which served as the first home in America for hundreds of thousands of Italian immigrants in the early part of the 20th century.
Walking The Feast ...
Hot sausages and peppers ...
Cannolis galore.
I decided to take advantage of a beautiful and sunny Sunday and headed to the recently opened High Line, although it took me over 40 minutes to get there from the Upper East.

Butter Lane Cupcakes on The High Line.
The High line is a public park that was built on an elevated rail structure on the West Side. When completed, the park will run from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to 34th Street, between 10th & 11th Avenues.

The first completed section, which runs from Gansevoort Street to 18th street, opened in June. The park was packed with all kinds of New Yorkers enjoying the day. The entrance to The High Line is right next to the new Standard Hotel, so the best way to start exploring is to enter from Gansevoort Street.

The park is more like an urban boardwalk than a lush green space, however it works beatifully. It’s especially lovely because it’s new and immaculate. There are plenty of wild flowers and ample seating -- they even have a vendor selling cupcakes.

Before the weather gets too chilly, make sure to explore The High Line.

For more information about The High Line, visit
A vew of The Standard from The High Line.
Multiple views of The High Line ...
I’m curious and excited about the new Chock Full o’Nuts that is opening at 25 West 23rd Street. Chock Full o’ Nuts used to be known for its food just as much for its coffee. The new location is going to revive original menu items like whole wheat donuts and sandwiches with cream cheese and nuts on raisin bread. [Crain’s]

When President Obama was in town
a few days ago, he lunched with Bill Clinton at Il Mulino. The food at Il Mulino is a favorite of many but I’m surprised they went there of all places. It’s more of a romantic dinner date spot than a Presidential lunch scene. They should have gone to Michael's. [Diner’s Journal]

Until we eat again,
Jordana Z.

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